Tymen’s Dutch Journey: From Kindergarten to CNaVT

Tymen is one of our first students to finish the Dutch School from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. He started out at our Dutch school in Orange County all the way up to group 8. Every Saturday morning he would enjoy the classes. Tymen did our secondary program, called “Voortgezet Onderwijs” in Dutch, through our online group classes.¬† He has taken the CNaVT exams and passed with flying colors, proudly obtaining the Seal of Biliteracy on his high school diploma. We asked Tymen to share his story with you all as a source of inspiration to current and future students and parents.

Tymen (left) taking his CNaVT with Juf Anke (second right)

Tymen’s first memories of the Dutch School are from kindergarten. He said he thought it was the worst thing in the world as a five-year old. He would cry and scream and is grateful his teachers did not give up on him. His parents made him go each week anyway. Tymen looks back on this with gratefulness. “Now that I have finished the Dutch School, I am so grateful to my parents for dragging me to school every Saturday. The ability to speak multiple languages is so valuable, important and a unique skill to have. Because I learned Dutch so early in life, it is unlikely I will ever forget how to. I am also grateful for the gift of bilingualism and the brain development it brings. I am able to learn other languages now so much more quickly, I speak Spanish and even French now. I only started French in high school last year, and now I am already in advanced college level French classes”.

Tymen as a young child at the Dutch School

We asked Tymen what the Dutch School has brought him. Tymen shared that the Dutch brought him a fun, educational, and supportive community. The friends he made along the way are still his friends and teachers have turned into mentors, now that he has graduated. He misses the Dutch community every Saturday morning, but will still join us for events like King’s day and Sinterklaas.

Tymen shared some thoughts on his teachers. “The teachers at the Dutch School are some of the best in the world, much better than any teachers I had in American school. Each teacher was exceptional, but Juf Anke deserves a special thank you. I was in her class for many years and she helped me pass the CNaVT with a high grade. This helped me obtain the Seal of Biliteracy and the CNaVT certificate.”

To support current families at the Dutch School, Tymen shared some tips for parents: “My biggest tip for parents is that they should bring the Dutch language home, this supports the language development of the children. Preferably speak Dutch at home, but I know it is not always possible. That’s why I have these additional suggestions. Listen to Dutch music, there are so many artists and music on You Tube or other platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify. Parents should also watch Dutch television and movies with their kids. My family always watched Jeugdjournaal (Dutch news for children) together. There are a ton of programs on such as Jeugdjournaal or Het Klokhuis, which are very educational. When children get older these shows may get a little boring. When that happens there are shows for older children and adults such as Wie Is De Mol? en Expeditie Robinson. The most educational way to learn Dutch is by reading. Read to your children, give them books to read to themselves and utilize the library offered at the Dutch Schools on campus with books for all ages.”

Tymen reads to the younger students

A fun memory Tymen would like to share from the Dutch School is the annual Pancake Day. “My favority memory is when we did a Pancake¬† Restaurant at the Dutch School. I always enjoyed acting as a waiter, chef or host and to pretend to have a pancake restaurant with my classmates. We were able to use our creativity to make the Pancake Restaurant unique each year. I remember one year Blake brought beautiful flowers made out of paper and Tayla made puzzles for the younger children. The class could decide on the restaurant but our teachers Juf Anke en Juf Michele provided help where needed. It was always fun and the pancakes were delicious!”

Despite all Tymen’s Dutch knowledge he has only been to the Netherlands twice. When he was a toddler and when he was 7 or 8. He still has memories of the Netherlands. He remembers the beautiful green scenery, the bikes, the tall people, the cheese and more. He is eager to go back and visit another time. Such a beautiful country can’t be explored fully in just one visit.

We asked Tymen some fun questions to end. His favorite Dutch holiday is Sinterklaas. He always loved pepernoten and candy in his shoes and loved the chocolate letter from Sinterklaas. He enjoyed when the Dutch School celebrated in the harbor and watched Sinterklaas arrive on a real boat. The last few years he even got to play “Piet” at the Dutch School celebrations and got to experience the holiday from the “grown up” side. He hopes to play Piet more often in the next few years to make the children happy!

Tymen’s favorite Dutch food is pretty much all Dutch food! He loves it all! Frikandellen, kroketten, haring, eel, split pea soup, queen soup, cheese, ‘muisjes’, chocolate sprinkles, syrup and apple syrup. The only thing he does not like is black licorice. He tried them all and he did not like them.

Thank you, Tymen for sharing your Dutch journey. What a beautiful journey it was! We are so proud of you! And “groetjes” from all your teachers!

*This blog was translated for the English website. For the original version, visit our Dutch website*

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